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UEFA president Platini sees final challenge ahead in 2019

25 March 2015, 18:39

Vienna - Michel Platini has his eye on one last challenge in 2019, the year FIFA will elect its president.

Given four more years to lead European soccer's governing body on Tuesday, Platini hinted at a news conference that he won't seek another UEFA mandate. Platini, who turns 60 in June, later told reporters that he has only one job left to do in his career.

Also read: Blatter rivals slam FIFA leadership

"If I have to do something it is the last thing," the former France great said at a post-election briefing. "I will be 64, there is a last thing to do. I don't know if I want to go in UEFA or I want to go in FIFA or I want to go in another part of the world."

Platini was long seen as the likely next FIFA president until Sepp Blatter reneged on a 2011 promise to leave this May. Instead, the 79-year-old Blatter is favored to win a fifth term against three UEFA-supported rivals.

Reflecting on the May 29 election, Platini accused Blatter of using key decisions on the World Cup to help his campaign.

UEFA and Platini want to protect Europe's 13 qualifying slots for future World Cups, and even add a 14th. Blatter has ensured continental quotas for the 2018 lineup in Russia will be allocated at a special FIFA executive committee session on May 30.

"That means he is playing with that," Platini said of the timing of the decision on the day after the election.

Platini also took a swipe at FIFA for not following through on charges of unethical behavior stemming from prosecutor Michael Garcia's investigation into the 2018 and 2022 bidding contests. The former U.S. Attorney resigned in December to protest at how ethics judge Joachim Eckert acted on his recommendations.

"Everybody knows that until the elections there will be nothing," Platini told reporters. "We are not stupid. Everybody knows."

Platini, who was interviewed for Garcia's probe, said he doubted FIFA will release the full dossier.

"I think it will be published after the elections. But I am not sure that it will be the true (report)," he said, recalling that FIFA lawyers previously intervened to alter a report written by FIFA's anti-corruption advisers.

Platini also noted the likely arrival on the FIFA executive committee in May of Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al Ahmad Al Sabah of Kuwait. The Olympic powerbroker is viewed as a potential FIFA presidential candidate in 2019.

"It's a personage who was a strong electoral base. He is very strong," Platini said.

Looking to the Champions League final on June 6, Platini said he had an agreement with the governing body of soccer in South American to allow players also selected for the Copa America, which opens June 11 in Chile, to play in Berlin.

"For me, not to play the Champions League final?" said Platini, musing how a player could react to being asked to miss the match. "I kill them, I change nationality."

- AP


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